Qatar International Food Festival is due to start today – Miss QE cannot wait and has put together 15 useful facts about #QIFF2015 that you should know – so check it out!
1. This is the 6th edition of the food festival, and it will take place at MIA Park, with the concept being to highlight ‘A Different Side of Food’. Today the event officially starts at 5pm running until 10.30pm; on the 25-28th it opens at 1.30pm until 10.30pm. Entry is free. Food stands will be selling food from as little as QR 5 up to QR 25, with a QR 40 limit. However some attractions have a separate price point with tickets available to buy at onsite QIFF ticketing booths.
2. Please be aware that the car park for MIA Park will be unavailable as it is reserved for VIPs and Media. Organisers have stated that there is a park-and-ride scheme running with shuttle buses running from the Marriott Doha hotel and from the Old Airport Arrivals Terminal. But, there will also be private cars available from these two locations with the fare set at QR 35. There is also parking available at the new Souq Waqif car park but you will have to walk from there or take a taxi. QIFF2015 is the Uber code for use with the Uber app, and is only available for new users which will give you 2 free rides (up to QR 80) to and from the Park.
3. The Attractions are Back! The popular ‘Dinner in the Sky’ attraction is back with tickets available for purchase from QIFF booths at MIA Park, priced at QR 500. The attraction will provide a taste of five-star business class airline service including a ‘Business Lounge’ for guests to enjoy Arabic coffee, dates and canapés made by Chef Vineet Bhatia and Chef Nobu. Guests will then move to the special event table where they will be hoisted up 40m into the sky and offered a set-menu with Laduree pastries and Valrhona chocolates for dessert.
4. Other attractions include The Diplomatic Club’s successful floating ‘BBQ Doughnut’ which can hold 8 guests and provides barbequed delights. You can enjoy Afternoon Tea for QR 50 per person (1 – 5pm), or Dinner for QR 250 per person (5-10pm). Whilst Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels have arranged ‘Dinner on a Dhow’ where guests can enjoy a menu of either Afternoon Tea or Evening Buffet with live barbecue. The Afternoon Tea cruise (QR 25 per person) will be every 30 minutes from 2pm – 5.30pm, whilst the Dinner Cruise (QR 70 per person) will be at 6.30pm and 8pm. Presented by Kempinski’s Marsa Malaz, there will also be a double-deck ‘High Tea Lounge’ tent with food stalls on the first floor and premium teas available on the first-floor tea lounge.
5. The Qatar Airways Live Cooking Theatre is always one of the most popular attractions of the food festival. Most impressively there will be a fully functioning kitchen at the back with professional high quality kitchen equipment being utilised. Renowned chefs will attend including Vineet Bhatia, Massimo Capra, Aisha Al Tamimi,and Fawaz Al Omaim. They will be expected to highlight easy to prepare food that tastes exceptional – even better is the free samples handed out at the end of each cooking presentation. This will also be the first year that Fatafeat chefs Salma Soleiman and Daad Abu Jabber will attend.
6. There will be a fantastic ice-carving event arranged by Qatar Culinary Professional at 7pm on Thursday. Check out local chefs creating sculptural masterpieces in a timed competition with prizes for Gold, Silver and Bronze winners. This is a free event and visitors will appreciate the extra efforts the organisers of QIFF have gone to in order to provide a family-fun day out for people on all budgets.
7. Local and international musical and dance acts have been planned, including Arda dancers, Lebanese pop artist Tarek Sidani, and an Egyptian Tanoura band. These entertainments will be held at the main stage for free and will provide visitors with a showcase of cultural performances.
8. The International Zone will host all hotels in Doha with gourmet food dishes for sale. Sheraton’s Al Maskar seafood restaurant will have a food stand there, as will the Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels. Expect many more food stands from places such as Zubarah Hotel, Sharq Village, Holiday Villa, and the Grand Hyatt. There will also be more local eateries at the event including California Tortilla.
9. #QIFF2015 or @qiff_ and #QIFFselfie are the social media tags to use for the duration of the festival. The organisers have focused on social media through the introduction of competitions and by inviting regional and local bloggers to attend the event. Qatar Living is also taking part in the fun with its very own ‘Take a Selfie’ competition. There is also going to be an innovative Instagram Market with local chefs who are active on social media.
10. The organisers of QIFF 2015 have extended their ‘Cook With Your Family’ competition. Two different sets of prizes are up for grabs – for Qatar residents you can win 4 tickets to the ‘Dinner in the Sky’ attraction! All you have to do is take a picture of your family cooking at home, and post it on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. Make sure you mention or tag the Qatar International Food Festival and include #QIFF2015 in your entry. Good luck!
11. Daily Fireworks Shows are planned every evening, with a 6pm show today and 8.30pm shows for the next three days. On the final day (28th Sat March) there will be a show at 10.30pm. Please note that the weather may cause some disruption to the timetabled schedule of events.
12. The Qatar-Turkey Year of Culture 2015 will feature heavily at the event with a special Qatar-Turkey Zone hosting Qatari and Turkish food stands including the famous Katara Turkish restaurant Sukar Pasha.
13. There will as always be a focus on healthy eating with the Health Zone showcasing the Sahatak Awalan Health Truck will be in attendance, with chefs providing healthy food tips and lots of advice about healthy eating. This initiative has already proved popular with local school children especially with their concept of ‘exercise bikes making fruit juices’.
14. There will be an amateur chef competition for all budding chefs and self-proclaimed BBQ experts! It is expected that the event will take place at QIFF with ingredients and prizes to be provided by the event sponsors Phillips. More details will be announced soon.
15. Although the food festival is a celebration of international food cultures and traditions, let’s not forget that it is also a platform for visitors to discover Qatari cuisine. QIFF organisers hope to release a legacy cookbook which will include recipe contributions from local residents. There will also be daily Qatari Chef Culinary Courses for professional chefs in local hotels, with the intention that Chefs utilise their new knowledge in their own cooking.
[All pictures are QE, excluding official QIFF, Qatar Airways and Sahtak Awalan photographs]